She came up the stairs dragging a very sorry looking mop.
To my raised eyebrow, she smiled, “it’s a secret,” and said no more. She placed the mop in a corner (head double tied in a plastic bag per my insistence), and sat down to work. Once in a while she lifted her face to look at the mop’s handle with a little “I know something that you don’t but this is working really well so far” grin.
I was of course dying of curiosity but had to admire her resoluteness to not spill the beans. This was no easy feat for a girl who would usually share just about any tiny detail she could think of.
Not this time.
This cat, I could see, was not being let out of the bag. How apt, when we have been working on symbolic language, and how she adored the image of that specific idiom. Thought it was the funniest thing after being “all ears.”
When the mother came to pick her up at end of session, a storm paced near.
“What’s this?” The parent curled a lip.
“From outside,” the child replied regally and more than a little challenging.
The mother shook her head at the mop. (My thoughts exactly … from OUTSIDE? Who knew what peed on this, or worse, and why someone decided to toss out the scraggly mess! She brought this in here from OUTSIDE?!)
The child remain stoic. “I told you I’d figure it out,” she said cryptically.
“And you said that if I found a way then I could AND that this can be a secret until Halloween! So you can’t say anything or you’ll tell!” the girl jumped in rapidly before the mother said something that would reveal what was to be kept hidden (and … I think, to prevent any conversation from putting her at a disadvantage …).
The mother looked at me helplessly but all that I could do was shrug slightly and observe. This was better than TV, definitely. I did not have a clue what was going on, but the child’s delight was fun to see. I did have to hand it to the gal: she clearly made a point and seemed to be driving it home (hopefully not literally … I could not see any cab driver happy to see this in the taxi … and was already thinking how there’d be some disinfecting on my end once this thing left my floor, plastic bag or not …).
A long moment ticked. Another.
“Okay!” the mother sighed. The girl’s grin was humongous.
“Okay?!” I could not help it. The girl picked this up from the garbage and it was okay?? This was not a woman who collected toss-out stuff from pavements, and I could not see her letting this into her house. I could barely believe I let it into mine …
“Oh, she means she’ll get me one!” the girl explained. Victorious. “She didn’t want to but I told her that I will find one myself … though,” she turned to her mother, all nectar and loving sweetness, “it WILL be so much nicer to have a new clean one to use …”
The girl grinned at my bewilderment and left hopping down the stairs. Her mother–I am not sure quite as relieved–carried the offensive mop between two careful fingers (“So it does not smear who knows on each of your steps,” the parent shuddered, keeping the bagged mop head well above the ground.)
Neither mother nor child offered explanation for the girl’s newly found interest in housekeeping. It remained a mystery to me.
(Picture of an unrelated child in a similar costume …)